LogoPostlude and Thanks!

Word and World (Wort und Welt): Luther Across Borders

The Fourteenth International Congress for Luther Research met at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California,  August 14-19, 2022. 

We had an intense and warm week at CLU campus with (about) 150 colleagues from around the world to share from our research on Martin Luther, and related.

On behalf of the Local Committee, we thank the Continuation Committee for planning the oustanding keynote presentations and inviting presenters and seminar leaders from different contexts. 

We thank you, diligent seminar leaders, for facilitating each afternoon, and we thank all of you who participated in the seminars, coordinated by Brooks Schramm. We thank all of you who offered a "short paper" and who facilitated the sessions, organized by Jarmo Tarkki.

We are grateful for the most beautiful worship services we had each morning, with powerful proclamation and uplifting music, with Pastor Steve Herder's leadership, and assisted by Evangeline Dai and the campus ministry staff.

We had a lovely excursion to Santa Barbara, including the Old Misson and the Court House, thanks to Anita Finifrock and Jarmo Tarkki.

We are in gratitude for all who kept us fed and hydrated throughout the week, with Anita Finifrock's delicious and detailed plans.

We thank CLU for its hospitality with different meeting spaces, especially the beautiful chapel, and with various campus services, hotel and transportation arrangements, AV and printing needs.  We relied heavily on Vanessa Webster-Smith on many practical matters. We were supported by kind individuals from different departments. We are in deep gratitude to Aaron Greig, PLTS, for the registration and record keeping, and Angel Rodriquez for helping us with various details and closing the books with us. Thank you.

We are grateful for the sponsoring institutions' generosity that allowed us to offer receptions for nourishment of body and spirit: California Lutheran University, with Melissa Maxwell-Doherty, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, with Kirsi Stjerna and Brooks Schramm; Center for Reformation Research/Concordia Seminary, with Erik Herrmann; Pitts Theology Library/Emory University, with Bo Adams and Armin Siedlecki; St. Olaf College and Wabash College, with Deanna Thompson and Derek Nelson (respectively); Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; Lutheran Southern Seminary and United Lutheran Seminary, with Guy Erwin; Redlands University, with Christopher Ocker; Duke Divinity School, with Ron Ritgers; and Graduate Theological Union, with its many faculty and alumni/alumnae present. Thank you, thank you!

As you know, the keynote presentations and summaries of the seminar papers will be published in the forthcoming Luther Jahrbuch. Also, as Volker Leppin announced at the concluding banquet, next time the Congress meets in Aarhus, Denmark, in 2026 (in 4 years), with Bo Kristian Holm as the Chair of the Local Committee there, and Anna Vind is Co-Chairing  the Continuation Committee with Volker Leppin. 

When officially concluding the 2022 Congress, Robert Kolb, the president of this meeting, reminded that "everyone belongs" in this very special network of Luther scholars, with our differences big and small. Everyone belongs.

Your local committee was happy to welcome you. We hope you enjoyed your tote bags and waterbottles, provided by United Lutheran Seminary.

We wish you safe travels home. 

Kirsi Stjerna, on behalf of the local committee, who made this Conference happen, Guy Erwin, Anita Finifrock, Steve Herder, Erik Herrmann, Derek Nelson, Christopher Ocker, Brooks Schramm, Jarmo Tarkki, Deanna Thompson.

Until next time, in Denmark!



Important Updates

Update 8/20/22: Congress is closed.

Update 8/14/22:

Welcome travellers! Transportation: Those of you in Thousand Oaks Inn, your shuttles on Sunday leave 4:30pm and 5pm. Morning shuttles: 7:30-8am. Returns announced. Palm Garden Hotel, your shuttle today is at 4:30pm. Mornings: 7:45am.

When on campus: please know that Overton has a place to rest, and Library has warmly welcomed us to step in and enjoy the cool space with many many books and journals.

Let the joy of being together begin!


Update 8/4/22. About nourishment: Breakfast is served at your hotel. Lunch is on your own, either at a local restaurant or on campus (e.g. Habit Burger is great!). If you prepaid for lunch at the campus dining hall, you will receive those tickets with your tote bag upon arrival. If you did not prepay those tickets, but woud like to do so, you can do so at the registration desk during the hours listed in the program.  Repeat: it is possible to purchase lunch tickets from the registration desk, by the chapel, during the registration desk hours, while there are also other places to buy food without meal tickets with your own cash or credit card. Dinners: The receptions will offer good food and beverages each night, reception style, except Sunday and Friday which are full meals. After the reception, one can find food also at the local restaurants near the hotels, on your own. Both morning and afternoon coffee hour includes healthy snacks to keep us going.

Update: 8/2/22. A brief email was sent to all participants on August 2nd. If you did not receive it, please me in touch promptly. Also, PARKING: if you are planning on driving to campus, please know that there is a plenty of parking space, especially on the Main Lot and Memorial Park Way. Welcome! Safe Travels!

Update: 7/28/22

We are ready for your arrival!

Please know that we will have a Registration/Check-in desk for you on campus on Sunday 4-6pm and on other days at 9:00-11:30, at the Samuelson Chapel. At the desk you will receive your tote bag, nametag, a printed program, a campus map, a water bottle, important phone numbers, etc. Please make sure to check-in at the desk at your earliest convenience. Those of you staying at Thousand Oaks Inn, there will be a shuttle arranged for each day, including Sunday (bewteen 4-5pm). There will be transportation to campus and back each day from that hotel (the schedule TBA). For those of you staying in another hotel, per your own arrangements, please communicate with one another about convenient rides. (A few of us are staying at Palm Garden so shared rides should be very feasible.) At the first night, we will introduce our local committee so that you know who we are and let us know how we can assist you during the week. A warm welcome!

Update: 6/29/2022

Registered participants, please know that a welcome letter/email has been emailed to you on June 20, 2022. Please read it carefully with all the attachments (two), one from your local committee and one from the university. Your reply is promptly needed to the survey the university needs for their records and to better assist all participants. Also, for those of you who had requested on campus housing: please read the welcome letter/email carefully for important information about your housing options.

You will receive a printed progam, a map, and other materials upon your arrival on campus. This website also includes essential information that we trust is helpful to you as you plan your trip and participation.

Information on the check-in process and meal tickets is included in your welcome letter/email. To repeat: if you pre-purchased meal tickets, you will receive them on campus. If you did not, but would like to buy meal tickets,  please also know that anyone can buy them - and a rec pass (pool) - when on campus; there will be a hospitality desk open on campus every day (Sunday 4-6pm, Mon-Friday 9:00-11:30am, at Samuelson Chapel) during the conference.

If you have not received any emails from us, and/or from your seminar leader, and/or if your email has changed from the time of registration, please contact us immediately.  We have no other way of contacting you and communicating with you. Also, if you receive an email about your registration or housing or travel, please reply promptly, to avoid delays in the processing of different details.

Please notice that the Registration is closed, as is the window for refunds (except for housing - see the welcome letter/email). Because of the global situation, deadlines were extended as long as it was feasible.  Also housing requests are no longer possible at this point.

Travel questions: Information on different options can be found on this website. Also, it would be beneficial for individuals and groups of travellers to coordinate with their plans for arrival and departure (especially from LAX). Once there is a clearer picture of the needs for assistance, there can be strategizing on this. (On ground transportation questions, please contact Rev. Steve Herder pastorsteve@alcto.org.) Uber and Lyft are inexpensive and easy to arrange.  Highly recommended!

The Local Committee, with the generous staff at PLTS and CLU, is preparing the campus for your arrival. The Program designed by the international Planning Committee is exciting with eleven special keynote presenters and twenty seminars.  


About the Week

We welcome you all to campus to start our week together on August 14 at 6pm with an Opening lecture by Dr. Robert Kolb, the President of the Congress (Samuelson Chapel), to be followed by a welcome reception at 7pm (Lundring Events Center), with local delicious food (Santa Maria BBQ!) and beverages, sponsored by the hosting institutions California Lutheran University and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, in partnership with sister California schools the Graduate Theological Union and Redlands University.

Each day begins with a Morning Prayer at the university chapel, led by select Congress participants, with a brief homily and music (Samuelson Chapel). (Program TBA.)

In the mornings, we gather at the university chapel for the keynote presentations - eleven in all (Samuelson Chapel).

After lunch, we work in our respective seminars - twenty in all (Soiland Humanities Building).

Coffee/tea breaks are offered both in the mornings and in the afternoons. (Mornings at Samuelson Chapel, outside, except on Wednesday on Swenson lawn; afternoons Overton Hall, outside.) We are grateful for the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the Eastern Cluster/United Lutheran Seminary for providing the refreshments.

Each night (except on Wednesday, the Excursion day) we welcome you to an early evening Reception on our beautiful campus for light food and beverages (California wines and beer and non-alchoholic), sponsored by different organizations: California Lutheran University, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Graduate Theological Union, and Redland University (Sunday, Lundring Events Center), Pitt's Theology Library/Emory University (Monday, William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art) - with an Exhibit, Concordia Seminary (Tuesday, Swenson Lawn), Wabash College and St. Olaf College (Lundring Events Center). Each host institution's representative will share briefly on their programs. We are grateful for all the hosting institutions for their generosity. (All receptions, with their food and beverages are complementary for our registered participants and their avecs.)

On Wednesday afternoon, those registered for the Excursion will take a trip to Santa Barbara (pick up at Swenson, the place of the morning sessions), after the morning's short presentations and panels (Swenson Center for Social and Behavioral Sciences). A light lunch (box lunch) and beverages are provided. Others will have free time for their own excursion.

We will end our week on Friday night with a dinner under the shade trees (Pepper Tree Grove) (advance registration, closed).

We are anticipating your arrival, with excitement!


Kirsi Stjerna and your local committee

P.S. Pack your bathing suit and a sweater - the nights can be cool, while the days can be hot.


Please notice that there have been some changes in the Program; please check the schedule for lectures. Any pertinent information will be posted here in due time.

Due to the unprecedented circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, these plans are made with the understanding that if modifications need to take place, they will be communicated via this website and via email to all registered participants.   

Given the recent change in the housing situation for the Congress, our group's status - from CLU's perspective - is now that of daily Visitors  to campus. In that light, the Congress will follow the broad parameters of CLU's COVID protocols for visitors, together with the following expectations: 1) documentation of vaccination status (2-shot minimum), except for the medical exemptions, 2) strong recommendation for mask-wearing in indoor spaces, inclusive of bus rides and seminar spaces, 3) in case of exposure or of positive test after arrival, guidelines as stated in the visitors' policy should be followed strictly.

Any developments relating to the Congress will be posted on this website. Group emails are used sparingly and as needed. The latest group emails have been sent in the month of June 2022 (2 emails); if you did not get any in June, please in touch.

With any questions, feel free to contact kstjerna@plts.edu, co-chair of the Congress, and any of the local committee members.       

Please be advised that California Lutheran University follows all state, county, and federal safety precautions for higher education for campus services as well as the residential community. For frequent and live updates pertaining to CLU, see www.callutheran.edu/know.   



Program Schedule

View the full program schedule for the 2022 Congress.

View the Schedule

Registration & Fees

Learn how to register before the Summer 2021 deadline.



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Testimonials and Words of Welcome
“It is very exciting to host the 14th International Congress for Luther Research in Thousand Oaks, California, USA! The words ‘Luther’, ‘International’, and ‘Research’ describe the nature of this cherished “summit” meeting that takes place every five years, and, importantly, always in a different part of the world. Each hosting context opens new avenues for Luther scholarship that benefits from the rich group of participants, varying from a seasoned scholar to a person newly interested in connecting their scholarship with Luther. The seminars are the soul of the congress, a friendly place for sharing research, mentoring, and fellowship. The broad spectrum of keynote presentations invites healthy debate and discussion. The receptions at the end of the day are the climax of each day where new and old friends meet over something tasty to eat and more Luther-talk. I was invited to my first Congress in 2002, in Copenhagen, and I could not briefly describe the importance these meetings ever since have had in my reading and teaching of Luther, mentoring and collegial relations, and friendships. I was invited once. Now, it is my pleasure to invite you.”

Kirsi Stjerna

“I attended my first Luther Congress in 2017. It was unlike any other conference I’ve ever attended. Everyone who attends the Congress participates in a seminar that meets every day of the Congress and provides space for every participant to present their scholarship. I participated in the “Luther and Women” seminar with many incredible scholars, and the opportunity to be in sustained discussion with the same people all week led to such a deepening not just of the myriad of issues related to the topic but also to a deepening of relationship with every person in the seminar. I look forward with great anticipation to the Luther Congress 2022!”

Deanna A. Thompson

“Why am I going to the Luther Congress in Thousand Oaks next year?  I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I have never been involved in a conference that is more intense and more interesting than this one. I didn’t have any preconceived idea about what I was getting into at my first Congress, in Erfurt in 1983—in fact, I had never even heard of it, but my Doktorvater handed me the invitation and told me I should go. I chose a seminar, developed a research topic, and off I went!  It was a life-changing experience for me as a 25-year-old graduate student. Of course, it was a significant year, and the location, the Augustinerkloster in Erfurt, couldn’t be beat! But to just sit down at one of the many simple and casual meals and to find that you were chatting with someone from across the world (and often a different generation) whose book you’d loved (or hated) and get to talk about things you both cared about—well, that was the priceless part. I’ve never missed one since. One of the great things about Luther studies is the International Congress for Luther Research, and scholars in North America have a rare opportunity in 2022 to attend a Congress that is being held on our continent for only the third time since 1954. And if you have some spare time, you can go to the beach! “

R. Guy Erwin